Just when you think California can’t get any weirder, boom, it does.
“California has become the first state to require large retailers to have gender-neutral sections for products like toys and toothbrushes — a law pushed by LGBT advocates who say that pink and blue marketing reinforces gender stereotypes and is harmful to children,” the New York Post reported.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the new law on Saturday, which orders large stores to set aside a gender-neutral section to display “a reasonable selection” of items “regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”
The bill was authored by Evan Low, a Democrat state assemblyman, who said he was “incredibly grateful” the governor signed the bill this year.
Low said he was inspired by the 10-year-old girl daughter of one of his staffers, who “asked her mom why certain items in the store were ‘off limits’ to her because she was a girl,” The Associated Press reported.
“We need to stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids,” Low said. “My hope is this bill encourages more businesses across California and the U.S. to avoid reinforcing harmful and outdated stereotypes.”
While California is the first state to require a gender-neutral section, some large department stores have already changed how they display their products, the AP reported. “Target Corp., with 1,915 stores across the United States, announced in 2015 it would stop using some gender-based signs in its stores,” the wire service wrote.
Newsom recently survived a recall effort. Ballots were sent to all of California’s 22 million registered voters, who were asked two questions. First, voters were asked if Newsom should be recalled. The second question asked who should replace Newsom if he were to be recalled.
Leading Republican candidate Larry Elder, a conservative radio host, had the most votes among Newsom’s potential replacements early on, when Newsom briefly reacted to the projections predicting his victory.
Newsom’s troubles started in November 2020 when, amid rising COVID-19 infections, he declared he was putting an “emergency brake” on reopening the economy. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet – faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer,” he said. “The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
Newsom’s regulations in November put 41 of the state’s 58 counties in the most restrictive of the four-tier system, which affected 37 million residents. The move stopped reopening plans, banned indoor worship, shut down many businesses, and closed schools.
Days later, Newsom and his wife attended a birthday party with a dozen friends at the expensive French Laundry restaurant in Napa, north of San Francisco. The governor said the dinner, for a lobbyist friend, was outdoors, but pictures told a different story.
Newsom eventually apologized. “I made a bad mistake,” he said. “I should have stood up and … drove back to my house. The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”
Newsom has made other mistakes. In July, the governor ordered certain businesses across 19 counties to scale back their operations, including restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, card rooms, and bars.
Newsom’s own winery and tasting room in Napa Valley, however, was allowed to stay open. Madera County wineries were exempt from the order because it was not one of those on the list.